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Job Opportunities & Student Success Stories Job Opportunities & Student Success Stories Issue #85 Author Credits: Liya Swift & Jeff McQ

BRIAN KRAFT, C.O.O. and Chief Academic Officer of RRFC, can HELP YOU LAND A JOB

  Here are just a few of the latest jobs & opportunities for RRFC students & graduates this week:     


  Click here to see full details on the jobs currently available. Visit the official RRFC Job Board for more opportunities, and check the RRFC Blog for news & updates!   Contact Student Services for more information on logging in.  
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When RRFC gets you learning one-on-one from the pros, you can learn skills to take your life in a whole new direction. Read below about an established author who enrolled in the Film Connection to learn to translate her ideas to screen, and ended up handing her script to a noted L.A. film producer!

Student Successes

Film Connection student Suzanne Nichols pitches her script in Los Angeles!

FC Screenwriting apprentice Suzanne Nichols

FC Screenwriting apprentice Suzanne Nichols

At RRFC, we find that many students enroll in one of our apprenticeship programs to pursue a singular dream, to get their lives and careers started. For screenwriting apprentice Suzanne Nichols, however, her apprenticeship simply added a new facet to an already extraordinary life. A graduate of the prestigious Brown University, by the time she decided to enroll in the program, Suzanne had already authored two books, dabbled in learning computer animation, and was living “off the grid” on her nearly self-sufficient homestead.   “My electricity source is solar, singularly. I’m not connected to the grid in any fashion. I’m actually on 90 acres of pretty much wilderness, and I’ve cleared about a three-acre area where my homestead sits.”   It was actually her homesteading lifestyle that in a roundabout way prompted Suzanne to pursue an education in film. As she began working on a new book about her life on the homestead and the lessons she’s learned there, she came to a realization. “I went down to the barn one day,” she says, “and just had this thought: ‘It’s time to do the film. This is a film, this is a film.’”   It was clear to Suzanne that she needed to make a change from a verbal approach to a more visual one in order to write for film. “The desire to render a story visually has been with me for a long time,” says Suzanne. “I was very well academically trained and have always naturally been a writer since childhood. So writing has always been kind of my first choice when it would come to expressing ideas…[but] film is such a powerful medium to affect, whether it’s some emotional response you’re looking for in your audience, or social change, or whatever. It is powerful because it bypasses in a lot of ways a more analytical part of our brain and goes right to that instant visual reaction. So I went from loving words and using words (hopefully to good effect) to wanting to be more direct in my use of imagery.”   Suzanne found the Film Connection through an Internet search. She ultimately enrolled and was paired as an apprentice to noted screenwriter Ron Osborn (Meet Joe Black), who coached her through the process of writing her screenplay Double Edged Sword. Even for the most experienced screenplay writer, Suzanne’s story would not be an easy one to put forth. A character-driven psychological drama dealing with the mind—with subject matter of a personal and autobiographical nature—translating from words on the page into images on the screen would be no small feat. Suzanne admits the transition was not an easy one for her to make.   “‘You can’t get preachy’ is what Ron would say to me… When I started out, I was still using the words as a crutch. I hadn’t really made the leap into using words to create images on the paper that can then be translated back into images…I mean, it is such a different medium. It is a very different way of writing….In terms of developing characters and developing plot lines and story points that move the story forward and get certain ideas across without becoming, as [Ron] would put it, preachy or hitting people over the head with an idea, that was very challenging for me…Thankfully he knew always when I wasn’t getting it and would point it out to me, and then I would just work and work and work and re-work and re-work, and then I’d start to get close, and he’d be like, ‘Yeah, you’re getting closer.’ And then I’d nail it…I never gave up, and I’m grateful for that…I couldn’t have done it without Ron. I know I couldn’t have,” she says.   In the process of working on the screenplay with her mentor, Suzanne learned to string the story and subject matter together with action that is subtle and provocative throughout. And, she’s even found her own voice within the medium. “It’s one thing to resist structure. It’s another thing to master it and then make other choices,” she says. “Not to say that I have mastered it, but I certainly understand it better, the three act structure per se. But I also found, and I was very grateful, that as I began to master the craft of the writing of the screenplay and began to understand the structure better, I was more able to free myself from it a bit.”   The struggle and hard work paid off! Once Suzanne had completed the script, it was time to make her pitch in L.A. The Film Connection arranged for her to meet in person with film producer Aimee Schoof. Suzanne recalls feeling an “instant connection” with Aimee, to whom she’d sent the synopsis beforehand.   “I was prepared to do the pitch,” says Suzanne, “but initially she said, ‘Let’s just talk, I want you to relax.’ And so she asked me some questions about the process and about me and about the screenplay. Then she said, ‘All right. You need to do this for practice, so let’s do the pitch.’ So I collected myself and I delivered the pitch and, I did well.”   But that’s not all: at the end of the conversation, the producer walked away with Suzanne’s script in hand. “She had some excellent feedback for me [on my pitch],” says Suzanne, “which I will implement should I have to pitch it again. Which maybe I won’t: she said they may be interested…She likes the story very much. I think I can safely say that.”   So, thanks to her Film Connection apprenticeship with Ron Osborn, established author and homesteader Suzanne Nichols now has a completed script in the hands of an L.A. producer, and is poised to see her life possibly take a whole new turn of direction. As someone who had already experienced a lot of life before enrolling in the program, Suzanne shares how she was able to advocate for herself and her story while still receiving important instruction from film pros like Ron and Aimee:   “I think it’s a balance,” she says. “It’s a balance of having the confidence and awareness of oneself and what one truly wants to accomplish and being willing to take risks based on that, balanced with a healthy respect for the people who are masters of their craft—who, as a student, I needed.”    
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  #85 – Apprentices in Action

Here’s what some RRFC Apprentices
have been up to!


FC apprentice Keith Huff (left)

Film Connection apprentice Keith Huff (Louisville, KY) is rounding the finish line! He’s completing his last film assignments, is editing his short For Sale By Owner, and… he’s just booked his tickets to come to L.A. and do his pitch!   

RC apprentice Kristin Staub and mentor Edwin Ramos

Recording Connection apprentice Kristin Staub (Brookfield, CT) got into the nitty gritty of blending the percussive elements of a song to get it sounding “right” although right may turn out to be a very subjective thing. Also turns out, Kristin has very sensitive hearing. Her mentor, Edwin Ramos, is showing her how to protect her hearing during the process and make the necessary adjustments needed to get the drums and other percussive elements right where they need to be in the track.   

On the set of Last Seen in Idaho

Film Connection apprentice David Nance (Seattle, WA) just wrapped work as production coordinator on the suspense/thriller Last Seen in Idaho. While the shoot consisted of hard, long days, and was “totally unglamorous 98% of the time,” David says he had a blast and learned a lot!   


Dr. Drew endorses the Recording, Radio & Film Connection, and CASA The Culinary Apprenticeship School of the Arts.
Issue #85


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  #85 – Mentor News
NUGGETS OF TRUTH: Recording Connection mentor Zack Phillips on how to be employable, staying connected
  We love checking in with our mentors because as we listen to them talk, we hear these “nuggets of truth” –helpful wisdom that comes from their years of experience, words our students need to hear—and we always learn something new in the process. Our recent conversation with Recording Connection mentor Zack Phillips was no exception. The founder of Freq Lab Recording in San Francisco, CA, Zack is an industry veteran who has worked with such clients as The Kooks, Jessie Ware, Talib Kweli, The Game, Washed Out, and Comedy Central, among many others.   During our conversation, Zack weighed in on such topics as what he looks for in an apprentice and/or employee, what he thinks engineers must know in order to be hire-able, and how he maintains relationships with most of his former students. We’ve mined some of the best parts of that recent conversation to share with you here.  
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Recording Connection mentor Zack Phillips

Recording Connection mentor Zack Phillips

“I think that really, more than anything else, it’s people who have taken the time to show me how to do things that made my career possible. And so I think for that reason, I really wanted to be able to give back and help pass along the information that I was taught to other people that wanted to learn…My experience teaching for Recording Connection, it’s been quite a few years now that I’ve been doing it. It’s been an overwhelmingly a positive experience.”   ON THE BENEFITS OF LEARNING ONE-ON-ONE IN THE STUDIO VERSUS A CLASSROOM:   “In a larger classroom setting, there’s always one or two kids who are kind of ahead of everyone else and sort of ends up pushing things ahead before maybe everything has really had a chance to sink in. And on the flip side of that, there’s always the couple kids that are goofing off and not taking things seriously, they kind of hold up the learning for everyone else. I think doing the one-on-one approach has really allowed things to move along at the speed that the information is being absorbed at. I think that’s really vital. But also I think learning in a traditional sort of classroom kind of environment, you learn with whatever equipment they have on hand which can be outdated and maybe not necessarily what you will find in the field. I think working with real professional engineers in their working environment, you’re much more likely to learn on equipment that actually is being used and that you might find is available when you go to start working.”   ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING CONNECTIONS WHEN PURSUING AN AUDIO ENGINEERING CAREER:   “As an engineering producer, you’re kind of—in a lot of ways, you’re your own brand. Even if you work for a larger studio… [The question is], Why is somebody going to pick you to do a record rather than somebody else? I think it’s important, not only the work that you do on a technical standpoint of, you know, how your record sounds, but how you are to deal with and the customer service that you offer. I think when you start to build a connection directly with the client, be that the label or an artist, you are much more likely to get repeat work. If you’re working as a freelancer engineer, having connections with different studios that allows you to maybe get a better rate and make a little bit more money in the transaction. So I think that the more connected you are, the busier you can stay and the more money you can make.”   ON WHAT ASPIRING PRODUCER/ENGINEERS MUST KNOW IN ORDER TO BE EMPLOYABLE:   “I would say Pro Tools is definitely like the biggest constant. No matter what type of studio environment you’re working in, if you’re dealing with recording and mixing professionally, Pro Tools is a huge part of what you’re doing. I think that if you really master that, you can adapt to any other environment…And then editing. Editing is one of those things that is not talked about as much as maybe recording or mixing, I think partially because it’s not as glamorous. I think artists themselves don’t want to put extra emphasis on the idea that somebody had to edit their performances to make it what it is. But that’s a huge part of it and I think as somebody who’s making records, your editing game should be on-point. You should really be able to take a few pretty good performances and stitch something together that’s amazing.”   ON WHAT HE LOOKS FOR IN APPRENTICES, OR WHEN HIRING SOMEONE:  
Control Room in Freq Lab Recording

Control Room in Freq Lab Recording

“I typically look for somebody who’s really ambitious and self-motivated, who’s going after it and kind of like they’re going to get there whether it’s with my help or somebody else or on their own. And they are looking for some support and someone to really show them the direction, but they’re not looking for someone to spoon-feed them. I think it’s most rewarding working with people where you can show them a little something and then the next time you see them they kind of just ran with it and you get to see the progress they’re making. I think that’s definitely the most rewarding. I like working with people that are really passionate about music and people who are humble and are willing to put in some hard hours and really do the work.”   BRAGGING ON SOME OF HIS STUDENTS…   “Jeff Gold…came through the program, I don’t know, I think he graduated about six months ago. [He works at] Hyde Street Studios, and he’s been doing a great job over there. He’s starting to work on his own sessions and he’s become quite a formidable assistant engineer, and works on pretty big projects. He’s working with Nathan Winter who has got the Grammy for some work that he did with Train…I see big things happen for him in the next few years…[And] Cameron Adair—he was here a couple of years back, and he ended up sort of becoming a freelance producer and engineer. He worked on a record with my business partner, Brian DeLizza, and they’ve put a record. It’s called CA All Day, and it’s a really amazingly produced record. He did a great job on it.”   ON STAYING IN TOUCH WITH HIS FORMER APPRENTICES:   “We’ve had students graduate and go in a lot of different directions. We’ve had some guys that have done recording and end up in radio as board operators or working as engineers in competing studios. We’ve got a lot of guys that are doing freelance engineering and producing things. I stay in close contact with the majority of people who I’ve had the opportunity to work with, and it’s just really exciting to see what people are doing and where their careers are taking them…I get a handful of emails and calls every week about what people are doing and, ‘Hey, I’m going on the road with this band. What’s some gear that I should bring?’ Or, ‘What do you think of this project I’m working on?’…Or, ‘Do you know a good mastering guy?’ Plus, it’s really exciting and rewarding, and I feel like the more students that I come into contact with, the more I really get to see where people excel and how they get into the field.”   ON WHY HE STILL GETS EXCITED ABOUT COMING INTO THE STUDIO EVERY DAY:   “I think it’s mainly just my deep love of music. I enjoy constantly hearing things that I haven’t heard before or haven’t put together in the same way. And, you know, it’s really a simple pleasure just for music and enjoying it. I produce my own music, but I think I chose engineering because I really enjoy the collaboration of working with somebody else on a project. You know, hearing their ideas and where they are taking things gets me inspired, and I start to help shape that and bring it along. And I think there is this sense that at the end of the day, the product that you’ve created is something that’s bigger than the sum of all its parts.”   
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  Information Kit – See How Apprentices Learn from Top Music Professionals

See How Apprentices Learn from Top Music Professionals

Dave Pensado, Recording Connection mentor Matt Linesch, and Recording Connection apprentice, Hannah Finegold discuss the Recording Connection’s mentor/apprentice music education approach at the world famous United Recording in Hollywood, CA. United Recording is one of the many famous recording students where Recording Connection students serve their apprenticeships.   Click here to learn more about the Recording Connection!

CASA The Culinary Apprenticeship School of the Arts can get you learning one-on-one
from an award-winning chef in a real restaurant!

Bill Bracken“Traditional culinary education to me is the apprenticeship mentorship approach. This is the way our culinary industry started out. I believe the mentorship approach to culinary education is a sound one. The profit loss statement of every culinary operation looks to productivity and efficiency as its number one priority. Having to re-teach culinary graduates is not only inefficient but also costly and time-consuming”     Bill Bracken, Owner of “Bracken’s Kitchen” Food and Beverage Consulting, Los Angeles, CA  


Check out this work by RRFC apprentices!

Apprentice Media



Quotes from Students: